Another year, another opportunity to forecast what’s to come in the design world. For the second year running, online marketplace 1stdibs has polled its trade community to develop a report on industry insights, which it has shared exclusively with AD PRO. Working with research firm Surveys & Forecasts, LLC, 1stdibs polled more than 700 designers around the world to get a sense of how and what they’re buying—and synthesized those findings into predictions of what’s to come in the year ahead.
Despite the insatiable Instagram scrolling hurtling our media consumption to ever-increasing levels, spurring new “trends” practically every hour, you won’t find much in the way of visually driven trends (e.g.,”millennial pink is this year’s color!”) here, but, instead, more conceptual and practice-driven insights. As such, the report is less akin to the “Top Trends of 2019” articles now flooding the internet and more of an assessment of the industry’s direction. Read on for the findings.
Custom, Custom, Custom
In what might come as little surprise to those designers who have watched their clients (and, likely, themselves) grow weary of the array of easily accessible offerings presented by e-commerce over the past few years and instead yearn for more unique finds, a desire for custom and one-of-a-kind items topped the survey results. Nearly half of designers polled (49 percent) plan to source artisan-made, one-of-a-kind pieces in 2019, up from 42 percent last year. Meanwhile, 58 percent say they customize the pieces they source for clients, up from 44 percent last year. No standard-issue bedroom sets here!
The Internet Era
While we know many of our favorite designers will never give up in-person shopping trips, factory visits, and materials selection, the time has finally come when, at least in this sample group, a majority are making purchases online. 1stdibs, perhaps to its own delight, found that 61 percent of polled designers make furniture purchases online (what, we can’t help but wonder, are the other 39 percent doing on 1stdibs?) while 45 percent source art for clients online. On the client side, the numbers are even more extreme: Designers said 81 percent of their clients prefer to buy based on viewing items online and a full 77 percent “want to avoid shopping trips and retail stores.”
Color and Pattern
We’ve been saying it for years now: Enough with the neutral interiors! This year, that’s finally beginning to catch on with clients, according to 1stdibs’ findings. “Interior designers continue to note that clients are moving toward color, with warmer tones and brighter shades (for example, jewel tones) gaining in popularity,” says the report. Though two of the top colors mentioned as front-runners in 2019 support this theory—emerald green (which we called as a trend back in October at High Point!) and blue—gray is still proving a hard-to-shake favorite. The one color trending out of vogue? Purple, which saw the largest percentage decline year over year (from 15 percent to 4 percent). Meanwhile, the report notes that patterns both modern (abstract, large-scale motifs) and traditional (florals) are still popular.
It’s All About the Mix
Designers continue to opt for an eclectic mix of styles and time periods in their projects. This year, a full 85 percent said they mix design periods in their work.
Out with Industrial
Naked Edison bulbs, rough-hewn wood, and visible pipes? Goodbye to all that, say the 1stdibs designers. After years reigning supreme in the cool bars of Brooklyn and hip restaurants of Austin alike, the industrial trend is on the decline, the survey says. Of the styles presented to designers, this was ruled the “least likely to be on trend.” Our one disappointment here? That designers’ likelihood to opt for reclaimed wood dropped from 3 percent to 1 percent. There are ways to make use of this sustainable option without going full industrial.
In perhaps the least surprising finding of the survey, the design style that will never die continues to, well, never die. The survey revealed that the styles most likely to be used in 2019 are midcentury modern, Scandinavian modern, American modern, and Art Deco. Despite the new year, some things never change.